Getting past the first draft: The importance of peer reviews

For many of you who have read my previous blogs you will know already I like to include famous and sometimes not so famous quotes in my writing. This blog is no different, but I will apologise for the profanity included in the selected quote below, but in all honesty, I could not find another quote that so simply framed the underlying message I wish to share today. “The first draft of anything is sh*t.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Getting past the first draft: The importance of peer reviews

Language’s are so colourful and rich and are constantly evolving and changing. More than 650 new words, senses, and subentries were added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2019 alone, including fake news, xoxo, and Jedi mind trick. When we consider our professional use of language and in particular our technical writing we not only have to consider the structure of sentences, but also that the technical content is correct, aligns to current and correct standards, and it is clear and concise for readers.

This leads us into the challenging world of Building Information Modelling (BIM), which from afar seems to have its own language, with constant references to TIDP’s, COBie, PIM’s, LoD, LoI, OIR’s, etc, and documents with acronyms such as EIR’s and BEP’s. These documents are supposed to be fully aligned, but often are not, and instead have conflicting information and instruction, or documents you hoped would clearly explain Who, What, Why, When, Where and How something is to be done, unfortunately often leaves you scratching your head and confused.

Ernest Hemingway’s quote above although very black and white in sentiment is very true, but writing these documents is never easy and often many iterations are required. I know from personal experience that a number of peer reviews are always required, especially in consideration that many of these documents will be considered contractual, so making them as good as you can will always help avoid future project disputes.

We are very lucky here at Symetri, not only do we author these documents regularly for a many customers, but we also have to review a wide range provided by others, and through all of this work we believe we are very well placed to understand what good can and should look like. On a very positive note I am increasingly seeing very good and concise BIM related documents (many more this year in particular) produced on projects but, on the flip side, far too many that are still not so good.

So to share the knowledge and provide help we have developed a very straight forward service the BIM Documentation Peer Review, in the understanding that increasingly lead appointed parties are writing their own BIM Execution Plans (BEP’s), Client/Employer organisations are developing their Exchange Information Requirement’s in isolation and this service simply asks the question “Do you think an independent peer review of your documentation would be beneficial?” If the answer is yes or even maybe I would propose this service may be of interest and could provide the following value:

  • Cost effective by addressing immediate concerns first
  • Provides confidence
  • Protects your companies’ brand and reputation
  • Peer review based on extensive project experience
  • Findings clearly recorded and communicated
  • Suitable for organisations of any type or size
  • Provides confidence documentation reflects best industry practice
  • Compliance with current standards and specifications reviewed
  • Recommendations made to help external facing documents stand-out from the crowd
  • We are probably better known for our direct documentation authoring services, but I know many of you reading this today may prefer to author your own protocols, standard methods, and procedures.
  • We also know your first drafts may not be the best, and that they will require several iterations and reviews, so if you feel you need an independent review, guidance or simply confidence your documentation is at an appropriate standard, do make contact to see how we may help you.
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